Organizations with innovative IT departments value collaboration

No readers like this yet.
Team operating principles: the open source way

In the open source community, we know the value of collaboration. It’s at the core of everything we do. Some of us are lucky to work for organizations that understand and embrace the power of collaboration. Yet, the silo mentality runs rampant in many organizations where collaboration and internal crowdsourcing is not valued. ( readers who are pursuing open source projects on the side, but spend their days working at companies with silos are likely very familiar with this).

So it was refreshing to read this new research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, which reported that organizations with the most innovative IT departments actually embrace collaboration and seek out new perspectives.

In a recent survey of more than 400 business leaders around the world, researchers found that companies that are deliberately pursuing IT-driven business innovation as a core strategy throughout their organization are “much more likely to take an open approach to innovation through crowdsourcing and encouraging end-user ideas.”

These organizations have used technology to set the business apart, and they’ve done it, in part, by collaborating across functions, hierarchy and traditional corporate boundaries, the research found. The research also found that business leaders are hungry for their CIOs and IT departments to innovate. Many of the leaders surveyed said they want their IT departments to move past “keep the lights on” mode. They want their IT leaders to lead their organizations into a technology-driven future.

This is good news for anyone who already believes in the open source way, but doesn’t necessarily see it in action at their organization. This research shows that some of the organizations that are encouraging collaboration (as well as taking other steps, such as encouraging and rewarding innovation) are transforming their businesses.

If you think your organization can benefit from adopting a more collaborative mindset, then share the report with your colleagues who may need some nudging. You never know, it could be the thing that gets your IT and business leaders on the same page.


User profile image.
Ginny Hamilton was a community manager for, an online publication and community focused on how CIOs and IT leaders create business value through information technology. A former journalist, Ginny is passionate about local politics, journalism, technology, and social media.


An excellent case for collaboration. And, I'm all for it, here and elsewhere. It's the elsewhere that is stalled. Can anyone direct me to this type of encouragement for other sectors of the economy, specifically the manufacturing sector, which tends to be rooted in the era of Carnegie and Frick where collaboration is akin to "union activity"?

Great question. I haven't read anything specifically about collaboration in the manufacturing sector. However, coincidentally, HBR posted an article today about how a shared purpose drives collaboration. And while the examples they use in the article don't touch on manufacturing, I think this sentiment probably applies for collaboration in all spaces:
From the article:
"People were also driven by the clear definition of the goals and an overarching purpose; they could see how their collaboration would benefit a cause larger than that of any individual. Collaboration is effective only if goals are evident: What problem are we trying to solve together? What can we do to solve this collectively? Of course, there needs to be a time-frame: By when do we have to get this done? What’s at stake if we don’t complete it in time?"

Great article. Organizations of all sizes, including IBM and Oracle, have benefited from collaboration. Strategy based on open innovation is the future.

Great read Ginny! I'm in that exact same situation you describe: I pursue open source project, and have been contributing for over 10 years now. During the day, I work in IT, at companies that hardly apply the open source way, through collaboration, sharing etc.

It's not necessarily bad, for a company to operate, more on a conservative model. But for me, being that active in open source, knowing it can be done differently with so many advantages, it's sometimes 'hard'. That's why I think I'm 'spoiled' by Open Source.

Knowing the difference, what is possible through the open source way, sure made me more aware of what I seek for at jobs and employers.

I downloaded the report, will be reading it, and possible forwarding it to the information manager (CIO) at work.

Thanks for your comment, Robin. I know exactly what you mean by being spoiled by open source. I've come to love and value my collaborative work enviornment so much. I hope that you are able to find that in your next endeavor because I know you will thrive in an environment like that.

Hi ma'am Ginny,

Great article! :) I can't imagine a company that is not collaborating within their departments. Besides most of all collaboration driven companies are on the top the of Business world today.

Thank you, Kristian. You'd be surprised by the lack of collaboration at many organizations. What's clear is that those who do it (and do it well) can see big benefits. Thanks for reading.

Open source has changed the definition of collaboration, especially, when it comes to innovation. Collaboration now has escaped from restricted confines of office cabins and become global in nature.
Organisations that collaborate efficiently will win and much of the business evolution will depend on the science of sharing.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.